Brown rice gets its color, flavor and texture from the bran layers that remain on the rice when it goes through the hulling process. It's milled for less time than white rice, which is why it retains the bran layers and is known for being a healthy source of fiber and for its chewy texture and nut-like flavor. There are four different types of brown rice — short grain, medium grain, long grain and light brown — and each takes a different amount of times to cook.
Short Grain Brown Rice
Short grain brown rice consists of small kernels and can have a very sticky texture when it's cooked. Because of this, it works well for rice puddings and similar desserts, as well as risotto. Short grain brown rice requires 25 minutes of cooking time after being soaked overnight.
Medium Grain Brown Rice
Medium grain brown rice is larger and more plump than the small grain variety, but not as large as the long grain. When cooked, it becomes moist and tender, making it an excellent component for soups, salads and side dishes. When soaked for at least four hours and cooked with two parts of salted water, this type of brown rice is done in 15 to 20 minutes.
Long Grain Brown Rice
The variety of brown rice that people are most familiar with is the long grain variety. This type has that familiar golden brown color, chewy texture and nutty flavor. Long grain brown rice is commonly used in a variety of dishes, including rice pilaf and stir fry. Long grain brown rice requires 45 minutes of cooking time.
Light Brown Rice
Brown rice becomes light brown rice when half of the bran is removed during the milling process. The result is a rice kernel with a light brown color, slightly nutty flavor, less fiber and a significantly shorter cooking time — 20 minutes — than regular long grain brown rice.